Playing a bard

calighis

First Post
This will be my first time playing a bard.
The rest of the party is as follows
a minotaur barbarian
a monk
an artificer
a cleric/druid
and a thief all of 7th level and above.
I have 7 levels I can mess around with and I am allowed to play level adjusted creatures.
Not all the levels have to be in Bard.
So my question to you is
What levels should i take and what feats should i take. Also what items should i be looking into buying with starting coin?
What races do you recommend as well?
 

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Nifft

Penguin Herder
Artificer means Eberron, right?

What other source books are open to you?

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, what do you want your character to be, and be capable of doing?

Cheers, -- N
 

Einan

First Post
Do yourself a huge favor and take song of the heart feat from the Eberron core book. It allows you add a +1 to your inspire courage ability, making it a lot more useful to your allies and you. I would go straight bard and try to focus on ranged attacks, since you'll never be the melee fighter that the monk or barbarian will be. Hang back, sing a lot and fire your crossbow. Try to focus on support spells if possible. And have fun!
 

roguerouge

First Post
You need to tell us what we can play with. I'll start with an assumption of core-only, although that's silly for me to assume given an artificer and a minotaur.

First piece of advice: ask your DM if it will be possible for your illusions and charms to allow your party to bypass encounters and alter plotlines on occasion. If he gives any answer other than yes, you are dealing with a bard-negative DM and you should choose another class, like a conjurer wizard, that fits his playstyle. It's absolutely vital that you be allowed to win fights with illusions and charms in order to be useful to your party.

Assuming the rogue has stealth covered, I'll assume that you're going to be the face of the party. To do that, max out the following skills: Use Magic Device (Cha), Bluff (Cha), Diplomacy (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Perform (Cha), Sense Motive (Wis), Tumble (Dex).

Now, what's your party role? Are you going to be a buffer, a charmer, or an archer? That role is going to influence what you do with feats and spell choices. Given the monk, barbarian, rogue combo, I'm guessing that you can be an effective archer, which would require Point Blank Short and Precise Shot. Enchanter/Illusionist bards should take Spell Focus, because your DCs are going to lag anyway.

Spells to consider:

1st-Level Bard Spells
Charm Person: The Bard's Fireball. There's no reason not to take this spell.
Disguise Self: Only if you're not going to take Alter Self.
Grease: Makes opponents fall down and be flatfooted, for extra roguish fun.
Hideous Laughter: For when the barbarian makes charming impossible.
Undetectable Alignment: For spy missions
Ventriloquism: Surprisingly useful if the DM doesn't nerf illusions.

2nd-Level Bard Spells
Alter Self: A must-have for flexibility.
Blindness/Deafness: A Fort save spell for those pesky wizards.
Cat’s Grace: With a minotaur and a monk and a rogue, you can bribe them with this spell.
Detect Thoughts: Spy campaigns only.
Eagle’s Splendor: If you plan on using a lot of illusions and charms, this works like a Spell Focus feat.
Glitterdust: A Will save spell for those pesky fighters.
Heroism: Does not stack with bardic music. Avoid.
Invisibility: For an enchanter/illusionist, this is a great spell.
Mirror Image: A great defense spell.
Silence: Really annoying and really worth it.
Suggestion: Yum.
Summon Swarm: One of your few area of effect spells.

3rd-Level Bard Spells
Charm Monster: The Bard's Fireball.
Confusion: Area of Effect, but combats slow to a crawl.
Displacement: Attacks miss subject 50%.
Glibness: In other words, if you take this, don't max out your bluff ranks.
Major Image: It's for creative DMs only.
Summon Monster III: Three Summon spells for the price of one.

Items: You want a crystal echoblade from the Magic Item Compendium. Beg, whimper, cry like a baby to your DM until you get it.

Prestige classes: Look at Fochluchan Lyricist and Sublime Chord.
 

Zurai

First Post
Einan said:
I would go straight bard and try to focus on ranged attacks, since you'll never be the melee fighter that the monk or barbarian will be.

I'll give you the barbarian, but you can build a bard to be a better melee fighter than a monk if you have access to the right books. Especially since monks are pretty lousy melee fighters.
 

bard

I am playing a bard6/lyric thaumaturge 2 in a Red Hand of Doom game and she rocks. I actually think that this build would be good for your group, given that your party already has a barbarian and a monk.

Definitely take that Eberron feat that adds +1 to Inspire Courage. Also take Melodic Spellcasting -- it will let you use Perform instead of Concentration for most things, and more importantly lets you cast spells without ending your bardic song. Also take the 1st level spell Inspirational Boost. With all that, your inspire courage will be +3.

Lyric Thaumaturge gives you a feat at lvl 2 that lets you increase the DC of an enchantment spell by two by using a bardic music slot. It's awesome. You can also take SF/GSF enchantment. At lvl 8 you should have an 18 CHA and a +2 cloak of CHA, which means that your enchantment spells (which should be just about all of them) will have a DC of

10 +
Spell level +
5 (CHA) +
2 (SF/GSF ench) +
2 (lyric spell)
= 19 plus spell level. That is really respectable!

Don't make the mistake of trying to be a melee or ranged combatant with this build. Be a battlefield controller/buffer/encounter ender. Pick up Haste so you have a way to contribute when facing things immune to your enchantments, and pick up Glitterdust too for the same reason.

Ken
 

blargney the second

blargney the minute's son
There's a bard in an Eberron campaign I'm playing in that's pretty effective:
Glimmerskin halfling (Dragon Magic)
Fighter 2 for Point Blank Shot and Precise Shot.
Pure bard for the rest, with Dragonfire Inspiration, Song of the Heart, and Melodic Casting.
-blarg
 

SelcSilverhand

First Post
This is an older article, but can give you some ideas on what to do with your character.
Bard's Munchkin Fakebook

I played a Bard 14 / Seeker of the Song 6. I gave up on ranged stuff around level 6 and focused entirely on battlefield control. With a barbarian, monk, and melee druid in the party I got used to being a sub-par damage dealer. Instead I focused on buffing the party and taking individual enemies out of the fight. I didn't have Eberron when I built him, so I didn't get the nice feats from there. Lingering Song is good, it adds another 5 rounds to your effects when you stop performing. You usually won't need to use up a bunch of your daily bardic music effects unless you pick up a prestige class that lets you use them to fuel other abilities. I picked up Extra Music for the Seeker of the Song abilities.

Perform Dance or Perform Singing are good choices as they let you hold something in your hands other than an instrument. However the downside in choosing those is that you won't be able to use all the cool magical instruments from the Complete Arcane.

Spells
Tasha's Hideous Laughter is a good way to incapacitate a target.
Invisibility and Silence for the obvious reasons.
Charm Monster and Phantom Steed are excellent 3rd level choices. I especially like the steed because it remains useful later on in your career.
Rainbow Pattern for 4th level saw a lot of use as well.

I haven't even looked at all the new bard spells in the Complete books or the Spell Compendium. I'm sure there are some other excellent choices in there.

For magic items, and if you choose an instrument for the perform skill, the Complete Arcane has several nice instruments you can use. The Anstruth Lute is the one I remember using, it adds bonuses to your perform, countersong, and fascinate abilities. It also has some 1/day spells. Also in the book are some magical lute strings that act as spell storing items.

Have fun with your bard, it remains one of my favorite classes to this day!
 

StreamOfTheSky

Adventurer
roguerouge said:
You need to tell us what we can play with. I'll start with an assumption of core-only, although that's silly for me to assume given an artificer and a minotaur.

First piece of advice: ask your DM if it will be possible for your illusions and charms to allow your party to bypass encounters and alter plotlines on occasion. If he gives any answer other than yes, you are dealing with a bard-negative DM and you should choose another class, like a conjurer wizard, that fits his playstyle. It's absolutely vital that you be allowed to win fights with illusions and charms in order to be useful to your party.

Assuming the rogue has stealth covered, I'll assume that you're going to be the face of the party. To do that, max out the following skills: Use Magic Device (Cha), Bluff (Cha), Diplomacy (Cha), Gather Information (Cha), Perform (Cha), Sense Motive (Wis), Tumble (Dex).

Now, what's your party role? Are you going to be a buffer, a charmer, or an archer? That role is going to influence what you do with feats and spell choices. Given the monk, barbarian, rogue combo, I'm guessing that you can be an effective archer, which would require Point Blank Short and Precise Shot. Enchanter/Illusionist bards should take Spell Focus, because your DCs are going to lag anyway.

Spells to consider:

1st-Level Bard Spells
Charm Person: The Bard's Fireball. There's no reason not to take this spell.
Disguise Self: Only if you're not going to take Alter Self.
Grease: Makes opponents fall down and be flatfooted, for extra roguish fun.
Hideous Laughter: For when the barbarian makes charming impossible.
Undetectable Alignment: For spy missions
Ventriloquism: Surprisingly useful if the DM doesn't nerf illusions.

2nd-Level Bard Spells
Alter Self: A must-have for flexibility.
Blindness/Deafness: A Fort save spell for those pesky wizards.
Cat’s Grace: With a minotaur and a monk and a rogue, you can bribe them with this spell.
Detect Thoughts: Spy campaigns only.
Eagle’s Splendor: If you plan on using a lot of illusions and charms, this works like a Spell Focus feat.
Glitterdust: A Will save spell for those pesky fighters.
Heroism: Does not stack with bardic music. Avoid.
Invisibility: For an enchanter/illusionist, this is a great spell.
Mirror Image: A great defense spell.
Silence: Really annoying and really worth it.
Suggestion: Yum.
Summon Swarm: One of your few area of effect spells.

3rd-Level Bard Spells
Charm Monster: The Bard's Fireball.
Confusion: Area of Effect, but combats slow to a crawl.
Displacement: Attacks miss subject 50%.
Glibness: In other words, if you take this, don't max out your bluff ranks.
Major Image: It's for creative DMs only.
Summon Monster III: Three Summon spells for the price of one.

Items: You want a crystal echoblade from the Magic Item Compendium. Beg, whimper, cry like a baby to your DM until you get it.

Prestige classes: Look at Fochluchan Lyricist and Sublime Chord.

Mostly agree with all of this, so I'll just add my input to it.

Grease: Best cast on weapons or footwear, cause they'll fail their roll eventually!
other 1st level spells to consider:
Silent Image: There are whole threads on how awesome this can be with some creative thinking.
Inspirational Boost: +1 inspire courage, and as a swift action! Non-core (Spell Compendium), but definitely THE spell to beg for if the DM makes exceptions.

Eagle's Splendor: Utility slightly dampened since a +2 cloak of cha is affordable by that level.
Glitterdust: Also blinds (with save), making blindness/deafness less necessary.
other 2nd level spells to consider:
Hold Person: Very limited use, but still great bang for your spell level.
Tongues: If you want to spend skill points on things besides speak language. I'd rather spend skill points, though.

Glibness: It's still worth maxing Bluff ranks, possibly. For starters, won't help on feinting (if you care). Also, if the DM allows the epic use of Bluff (take a -50 penalty to implant a suggestion), this spell + message = awesome, once you can make the check.
other 3rd level spells to consider:
Geas/Quest: Since you're starting at level 7, and it's limit is 7 HD. If you take, would want to immediately trade out at the next chance.
Haste/Slow: Depends on what the Artificer can do. Former's a great boost, even though you get it later than a wizard. Latter provides a nice selective "area" spell on a spell list that has few.
Sculpt Sound: Not necessarily a power option, though occasionally very useful. This spell's just fun.


other spells: May still want to pick up a cure at some level, in case the normal healers are incapacitated. Not really necessary, though. (wands are cheap)

Items: totally right about the crystal echoblade. Add "of harmonizing" to it (from the same book), and feats that let you sing and still concentrate on other things or extend the time a song lingers become almost completely pointless to waste a feat on.

Feats: As basically everone has has said of Song of the Heart, there's no reason to not take this feat! The other Eberron feat for bardic music you can get at level 6 (Haunting Melody?) is also quite good. Gives a nice offensive use of bardic music. There's a great deal of non-core feats that rock for the bard, pending allowed books.
 

Darklone

Registered User
Ranged bards.... with Xbows????? NAAAAAAAH!

That might be ok if you play some pretty small race with huge Dex bonus and Crossbow Sniper.

But the bard for real men... at least real men who want to do real archery... uses a composite longbow with Str at least at 16. Dex isn't that important, you'll hit better than any fighter with good Inspire Courage.

Start with a level of Warblade, then take 7 levels of bard. Continue with one or more warblade levels later if you want more maneuvers, but the important things here are:
- boots of speed (haste as free action for an additional arrow)
- Inspire Courage Optimisation
- Rapid Shot
- Song of the White Raven (start singing as Swift Action)

If you add these things together there's just one more thing to get: Bow of Songs. Add your Charisma bonus to hit AND damage?

How many level 10 chars have you seen with 4 arrows every round at 1d8+15 (+4 or +5 for str bonus, +5 for charisma and another +whatever for Inspire Courage and bow enhancement bonus) damage?

All this at a huge to hit bonus. All you need are many feats (Song of the Heart, Song of the White Raven, PBS, Rapid Shot, Extra Music as often as you can get it).
 

Artoomis

First Post
Rcae: Human for the extra feat and skill point.

For my bard, I started with max intelligence for skill points and made character my second-highest stat and put all level boots to cha..

I then looked to being expert at two things:

1. Party buffing.
2. Non-combat interaction. This can be effective in avoiding unnecessary combat, too.

Direct contribution to combat was extremely limited until the DM gave my PC a special whip (a whip is very cool but it needs some DM help). Essentially, a sort of modified version of a legendary weapon. Eventually, it did real damage (adamantine spikes embedded in the whip), made form a dragon's tongue and a few other things. Very, very cool and made him mildly effective in combat as something in addition to being a party buffer.

Lingering Song is a very important feat (10 round of "lingering" instead of 5).

The DMGII 2nd level spell "Harmonize" allows you to use a move action to start a song, but you need to use this as a combat prep sell (it will last 1/minute per level). Now you can do two buffs in one round! This becomes more important at higher levels.

The subvocal feat (sorry, not sure of the exact name) is important if you want a continuous buff without giving away your position (if that is a factor in your game). My character does not have it as my party is something less that subtle in its approach, and, except for teleportation effects, everyone always knows we are coming anyway.

Also, be sure to talk over your DM the possibility of an alternative class feature to the” fascinate/suggestion" chain of songs. As written, it's horribly broken. It can't be used at all in combat, while virtually always successful out of combat.
 
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StreamOfTheSky

Adventurer
@Darklone: Why is it so important to take Warblade 1 as the first level? Being able to swift inspire courage ASAP? Or the maximized d12 HD? Personally, the combination of bard skill spoints and list still makes it much etter for starting (even though warblade has only 2 less per level, the skill list is much worse, and first level is where you get to jump up 4 ranks in class skills, without paying dearly for it). Also, martial adept levels are better to enter at levels 5, 9, etc... (to start right out able to take maneuvers of level 2, 3, etc...). Crusader, if you can handle the annoyance, might also be better for a bard. Unless there's anything in TC or IH that you particularly want. For an archer, the two biggies would probably be Sudden Leap and IH Surge, both requiring you to have another maneuver first. Too bad none of the maneuvers you can use to meet those requirements are useful at all to an archer.

@Artoomis: Whip-daggers weren't available?
 

Darklone

Registered User
Yeah, I prefer hitpoints and Rapid Shot at level 3 with a good +2 or +3 from Inspire Courage. We happen to enjoy low level games and that one level of warblade helps you survive almost everything.
 

moritheil

First Post
StreamOfTheSky said:
Crusader, if you can handle the annoyance, might also be better for a bard.

Well, the Crusader's class abilities are cha-based, but usually I find that cross classes only take 1 level in Crusader and head right for JPM.

Why is the Crusader 'annoying?'
 


calighis

First Post
Nifft said:
Artificer means Eberron, right?

What other source books are open to you?

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, what do you want your character to be, and be capable of doing?

Cheers, -- N


Actually I am designing him to be a clown. He sounds and behaves as an English Gentlemen with frequent outbursts of clownish turrets.
How he behaves in combat... hmm I am definitely going for style over substance here. The Louder and flashier the better. Am probably gonna go the archer route.
Also any and all Wotc published is fair game.
 
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calighis

First Post
Zurai said:
I'll give you the barbarian, but you can build a bard to be a better melee fighter than a monk if you have access to the right books. Especially since monks are pretty lousy melee fighters.

This sounds intriguing I would love to hear more about this.
 

MrWildman

Explorer
Moritheil said:
Why is the Crusader 'annoying?'

My guess would be either the randomly granted maneuvers, the Delayed Damage Pool, or both.

They add another layer of paperwork to playing the class, for players or for DMs running a Crusader NPC. And since the whole Initiator/Maneuver mechanic is still relatively new and thus, still unfamiliar compared to standbys like Power Attack, it's just easy to avoid Crusaders when offered the choice.

Just my guess. Peace.
 

Thanael

First Post
calighis said:
Actually I am designing him to be a clown. He sounds and behaves as an English Gentlemen with frequent outbursts of clownish turrets.
How he behaves in combat... hmm I am definitely going for style over substance here. The Louder and flashier the better. Am probably gonna go the archer route.
Also any and all Wotc published is fair game.

There's a Jester class (or Prc? not sure) in Dragon and Dragon Compendium. Might be worth a look.

Edit: Dragon 330, April 2005 issue had a Jester PrC in it. Dragon Compendium by Paizo as well had an updated revision of a classic Jester base class from the old Dragon archives in it too.
 

roguerouge

First Post
First of all, Tourette's syndrome as a character trait is more amusing in your head than at the table for several months. Secondly, it is milder is adulthood. Thirdly, it's mostly about motor tics, with less than 1 in 5 having the verbal tics.
 

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